… Saharareporters Hasty
Wealthroot, a forensic firm contracted by the management of the Lagos State University (LASU) to investigate, unravel the modus operandi and identity of persons involved in the alleged certificate racketeering at the university has explained that the task is still ongoing.
The firm, Wealthroot, in a statement signed by its General Manager, Benedict Okohnma and made available to Daily Independent explained that Saharareporters that blew the lid was hasty and had denied the organisation a fair hearing.
According to Okohnma, “Wealthroot, a forensic firm was contracted by the Management of LASU in 2021, under the immediate past management led by the Vice Chancellor Prof Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun, to undertake a discreet undercover to unravel some elements within the university suspected to be engaged in certificate racketeering.”
“On Monday last week, an online medium-saharareporters.com carried a story with the headline: ‘Degree for Sale: Sting Operation Exposes Lagos State University Certificate Racketeering, Shielding Of Workers, Charging Up To N3 million per buyer.”
However, Wealthroot expressed surprise that the medium in the report “Alleged that current Management was aware of the perpetrators and was even shielding them.”
However, the firm on the contrary stated, “We, however, wish to state categorically that the story was full of fallacies and capable of putting both the Management and University in bad light.”
The statement read in parts, “More worrisome is that saharareporters which carried the story neither got in touch with us nor sought clarifications before going to the press while we were yet to conclude investigations.
“On the strength of the foregoing, we wish to state the facts of the matter thus: In the year 2020, a concerned member of the Alumnus drew the University Management’s attention to the alleged certificate racket going on in the University.
“Thereafter, the Management of Lagos State University under the immediate past administration promptly reached out to us. This led to commissioning us to act as an Undercover Agent to unravel members of the syndicate that were involved in the act of manipulating the University server and subsequently imputing records of non-graduates of the University.
“One of our key assignments by the University was to observe the modus operandi of this syndicate, i.e process of recruiting their clients; administrative and academic process up to the point of clearance, all of which required some of us to be part of them physically.
“We were also detailed to operate alongside some security agents to apprehend the perpetrators regardless of how highly placed they are.
“In the course of our investigation, we discovered that this act was being perpetrated through the University External System otherwise known as Satelite Campuses, and not the Full-time Regular Academic Programme as it was being projected in the media.
The statement added, “Further findings by us also revealed that some members of these syndicates had once worked at the University’s External System at one point or the other, and so took advantage of the University’s resolve to wind up the External System by clearing the backlog of yet to be graduated students of the External System platform, otherwise known as part-time students at the time.
“The University also charged us not to compromise standards but to do a thorough job by taking our time to explore every patchy area. This actually took us some time as we could not rush so we could gather undeniable evidence to nail the culprits.”
According to Benedict Okohnma, the University secretly brought in the DSS, and University security guards as support hands, while the investigation lasted, saying that the firm was also charged to put forward recommendations and measures to prevent such ugly occurrences from further happening in the institution and submit its findings to the University.
However, the firm regretted that as of the time saharareporters blew the story, the final report was yet to be submitted to the University.
The statement added that as forensic investigators the firm had fulfilled its part of the bargain by constantly updating the University as the investigation progressed before the end of the tenure of Fagbohun and assured that it would “Continue with the task of updating the incumbent administration.”
The firm added,” We wish to state here that the current Management under the leadership of Prof Ibiyemi Ibilola Olatunji-Bello, neither covered the matter nor attempted to protect the perpetrators who are staff of the University.”
It added that the investigation is nearing conclusion as it is only fine-tuning a few patchy areas after which the outcome of the investigation shall be made public.